Singapore is all about new mall openings and 112 Katong is the latest addition. When I visited, I realised that the retail scene in Singapore is changing. Just a couple of years ago, a mall will not survive without an anchor tenant, which in most cases is represented by a departmental store.
112 Katong, like many new malls does not have an anchor tenant apart from the supermarket. The new draw factor is all about the food outlets. Ding Tai Fung, Food Republic, T.G.I. Friday’s, Max Brenner and the list goes on.
The other thing that marks this new style malls is that they all have a child friendly water play area on the roof, next to the food court. I guess after the kids play, they will quietly sit down and eat at the food court.
The rest are smaller shops that find their own niches. Gadgets seems to be popular with at least 5 different stores dedicated to selling high end iPhone accessories.
The other niche is toys for younger children. There is one particular shop (Zero2Six) that not just caught my attention, it also caught Jireh’s attention. In the shop window was a giant plush giraffe and Jireh wants to hug the giraffe, which was taller than him.
Now what caught my attention in the shop are the hand puppets. I have seen hand puppets before, but I have never seen such good quality ones in Singapore. Most are big, coursely made and hard. Their main purpose is to stick your hands in and get the mouth to open and close.
Now the animal hand puppets in the store are different. They are made of a soft fabric and when you hand inside, it actually feels comfortable, feels like wearing a well made cotton glove. And at about S$17 each, they are not expensive. Based on the tag, the hand puppets are from Germany.
The other thing about this shop is the excellent service provided by aunty Maggie. At first I thought she was the owner, but she says that she is not and that was just her first day at work. She took time to interact demonstrate the toys in the shop and showed such passion for the toys that only owners of niche interest groups would. Well done, aunty Maggie.
That day, I bought two hand puppets – a squirrel and a … (actually, I am not sure what the other animal is, but it is so cute. It looks like a grey color beaver? If you can figure it out, let me know).
Oh, before you rush down to get the hand puppets, you better give them a call first. I returned the next day and bought another 13 animals – horse, white mice, lion, donkey, monkey, fox, cow, elephant…
Now aunty Maggie’s excellent service went to the extent that she volunteered to gift wrap each of the hand puppet personally. I guess passion makes all the difference in customer service.
If you do drop by the shop, do say hi to aunty Maggie for me!